Does WoW have any replay value?

| Thursday, September 9, 2010
Of course it does, right? We make alts and more alts and there's so much we haven't even done yet. Right?

Recruit a Myself, heirlooms, and badge farming say otherwise.

Sure, we make alts. But do we play them? Perhaps. But we certainly aren't replaying WoW. Or we're trying very hard not to.

Once upon a time I thought that people rushed up because their guild needed that class and rerolling was a way to fill that. They didn't necessarily want to rush through the game, but they didn't want to keep people waiting. I don't think that's the case anymore except in the most hardcore of guilds, where they are most likely to have an attitude of "bring the player, but they must be of the ideal class". Of course some people do still reroll when they realize that ICC raids aren't exactly starved for this or that overplayed class.

What does an alt do these days? It loads up on heirlooms and RAF and tries to hit 80 as fast as possible. In other words, attempting to skip as much leveling content as possible, which is a massive part of the game. So much for replay value, if we actively attempt to avoid it.

Then at 80 they avoid Naxx and Ulduar and ToC and the mean dragons. They ignore quests. Instead they rush into heroics and rush through heroics for badges so they can skip a few tiers up to ICC. Apparently nothing except ICC has any replay value.

MC, BWL, ZG, AQ, Kara, Gruul, Mag, TK, SC, BT, and Sunwell had no replay value either. When was the last time you ran any of those?

Based on how players play it, or more relevantly, don't play it, WoW has almost no replay value with the sole exception of an awesome last boss fight. Everything else we try as hard as we can to skip. Sometimes we say we've done it a million times already so it's boring, and I can accept that for any raid and any instance.

But how many times have you done the quests in the Barrens? Teldrassil? Badlands? Are there possibly races that you've never even played, zones you've never seen? I'm sure that whoever you are, there are probably hundreds of quests that you've never seen, never done, possibly never knew existed, never even seen the quest giver. At this point replay value isn't even relevant anymore, since it's not replay, it's new, but ignored.

Can you imagine getting a new book, reading every other page, and then re-reading the last chapter a few dozen times? Have you ever done that? If yes, are you crazy? What the hell is wrong with you? Do you have no concept of plot? Or wait, let me guess... you're one of those elitist pricks who thinks doing things in absurd ways is somehow better. I bet you say "good morning" after midnight, just because you think it's 'interesting' I bet you insist on listening to arrhythmic jazz and tapping your foot in the most irritating manner possible. I bet you pay good money for art painted by monkeys so you can point it out to guests while wearing a turtle-neck and drinking wine about which you will make absurd comments such as "fruity with a sour hint at the end." Yea, that's called grape juice that turned into wine and then went further into vinegar. But you don't mind, you think that's just a special aging process.

Where was I?


Syl said...

Hey, what's wrong with art made by monkeys?

some good points there and I certainly like the book analogy - however in that case, how many people do you know that read the same book more than once?
I'm one of those that re-reads entire books frequently, especially those I loved, but I know very few people that actually do it. They prefer new books over reading one they already know ('time is money!' or something..).

now it's true that even if I leveled up a human once, I won't know a lot of other quests and zones out there and that's certainly a reason to level an alt. but I reckon for many players (myself included) it comes down to 'just another grind to max level' - and imo the responsibility for that also lies with blizzard. I never felt that they managed to convey any consistent feeling of story while leveling up, the lore bits scattered loosely over a ton of quest texts that get thrown at you in inflationary manner whenever you enter a new zone.

I never had the feeling to be inside a stringent storyline while leveling up and I do blame blizzard's poor implementation of lore and quest system for that.
naturally, I don't ache to do it a second time.

Anonymous said...

I roll an alt when I'm feeling lost and frustrated, because I want to feel that feeling of steadily growing more powerful again. My main hasn't gotten a usable drop out of ICC in months, and there's only so much spec tweaking I can do with her. But with an alt I've got noticable increases in power with very little (comparative) effort.

And there are some questlines that I love to revisit again and again - the Lady's Necklace, for one. It takes very little time to roll up to the appropriate level for it, and it's such a satisfying payoff.

Anonymous said...

This is why I always say they should update old instances after each expansion. See, half the reason people don't do old raid and instances if they're not leveling in them or achievement whoring is that when you outlevel the place by 10-20 levels it stops being about playing the game and becomes content touring.
They could have at least updated the old LK raids to give plenty of triumph badges so that it pays to do them over farming heroics. More content is always good.

I guess this "content rotates out" design gets them a free expansion now. At least it looks like they are planning to make old dungeons into heroics one by one. It would be really great if in Cata we got like one brand new 5-man to accompany every new raid tier + a couple of old normals redone for 85 heroic. How cool would it be if you eventually had a pool of 20-30
5 mans and each with different gameplay (tbc style) as opposed to the current 12 5 mans which you can only tell apart by look and time needed to finish.

LarĂ­sa said...

I actually enjoy retro raiding and I participate in it once in a while when I get the chance. I visited MC as late as a few days ago.

And the quests - well as you're levelling alts quicker these days you don't have to do all of it. You can afford to be picky and pick the cherries from the cake. Some quests and zones are really enjoyable several times. They're just THAT good.

Stumps said...

In addition to what Larisa said, there are a lot of reroll guilds that are (by choice) setting themselves rules not to go beyond a certain level (60 or 70) in order to experience raids at that level again, as they should be played.

That counts as replay value surely?

Klepsacovic said...

@Syl: This would be for another day, but I suspect that it would be very hard to deliver one coherent story at a time without dramatically altering quest rewards and pacing.

@Anonymous: You've hit something I also enjoy with alts: they get more powerful at a somewhat steady rate, as opposed to max-level characters which gain power slowly and often with very fast diminishing returns. A higher level alt has more relevant instances while a max level character may care only about one place, and two drops in there.

@Anonymous: A larger pool could risk having too few people wanting any one instance, but the random system makes that worry obsolete.

@Larisa: I mean this in the nicest way possible: you are a really unusual player.

@Stumps: Those guilds do exist, but I wonder what portion of the player base they actually represent.

Shintar said...

I do wonder how common retro raiding really is. I know I see a lot of people doing the old raids for achievements, reputation and fancy old drops on my server. And judging by the low prices of old fire-related trade goods, everyone is running MC. ;)

Tesh said...

I wrote an article a while back about what I call "keeplayability" instead of replayability. Seems to me that MMOs angle for the former far more than the latter.

I'm still undecided whether or not I see that as a good thing, but I'll note this: I'm not in any MMO for something to do as my only hobby. I don't particularly care if they have replay or keeplay value, since I barely have time to get through a leveling path with one character.

On another hand, yes, I definitely do go and tinker with alts because I explore game mechanics as much as game spaces. I do wind up disliking grinding characters through repeated content sometimes. That's why I argue every once in a while for the ability to completely change class; I could make my high level Druid into a Paladin and see how the other side lives without 80 game hours going through stuff I've already done.

Michael said...

It has replay value for me. I still enjoy Hillsbrad Foothills, the Hinterlands, SFK, the Nesingwary quests, the pirates in Howling Fjord, Utgarde Keep. There are parts of the leveling game that I enjoy playing on every alt but there are also dull parts that I'd rather skip (much of Outland for instance).

The appeal of ex-end-game content isn't there for me, but that's mostly because it's an either/or proposition. You can't do TBC raids at-level and ICC at-level. Stopping character progression at 70 in order to do TBC raids precludes doing WotLK content. Plus, there are few people willing to do this so it's impractical for an non-social gamer like me.

For me, ICC has limited replay value as content isolated from the social context. But, like all raids, it never is. I enjoy raiding with my friends and ICC gets the attention because that's where the players are. The fight mechanics are old; spending time with friends is still fun. What would be nice is if we had more content options.

Klepsacovic said...

@Shintar: I have noticed that at 80 when MC is perfectly trivial (people still managed to wipe at 70) people are more eager to go. Perhaps the achievement system helps with that too.

@Tesh: Some sort of class change mechanic could be nice, though I'd do something like put the switched class back to 70 with Northrend reset so they can get some experience before jumping into the next random.

@Michael: The either or part of the pre-cap raiding is a strange situation. Why do we seem to always choose the higher cap? In terms of avoiding loss of content, it would seem to make the most sense to cap at 60 and raid until those raids are boring. Then cap at 70 and finish that content. And then it cataclysm do the same for 80.

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